Omega 3s / DHA and health...
January 2004, Warren Matthews
Over the last couple of years I have from time to time extolled the virtues of Omega 3 essential fatty acids. During this period more and more studies have been published confirming how important these essential fatty acids are to all aspects of health.
First of all an apology! Last weekend, and a few days prior to that we had a network 'bottleneck' problem that affected people in the USA and Europe wishing to access our website. The website was painfully slow with customers reporting that it took 30 - 45 minutes to process an order online. Most frustrating! The problem has been fixed and we have been assured that it will not happen again. I am sorry if you were subjected to this inconvenience.
OK... now on to this week's subject, 'Omega 3'/DHA and health'
Over the last couple of years I have from time to time extolled the virtues of Omega 3 essential fatty acids. During this period more and more studies have been published confirming how important these essential fatty acids are to all aspects of health. I was initially recommending flax seed oil and granules but over the last year since the availability of molecularly distilled fish oils has become easier I have been recommending using fish oil as your prime source of Omega 3's.
Prior to the availability of molecularly distilled fish oil there were risks associated with fish oil supplements! This is because fish oils that have not been molecularly distilled contain high levels of dangerous contaminants; especially oil from fish harvested in the north Atlantic and farmed salmon.
Another reason for now recommending fish oil...
Is that over the last year additional evidence has become available which confirms that the most valuable component of Omega 3's is DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and to a lesser extent EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). This evidence is now overwhelming. Although it is possible to get DHA and EPA from plant seed oils such as flax seeds you may in fact not actually be getting these valuable substances even if you are taking flax seed oil every day! This is due to one important biological fact, which is...
The Omega 3's in flax seed oil and other plant oils do NOT contain DHA and EPA although they contain the precursor to DHA and EPA in the form of alpha linolenic acid (ALA). In order for your brain and heart to get the benefit of DHA and EPA your body must be capable of converting the ALA to DHA and EPA. Sadly, unless all your organs are functioning smoothly this conversion more than likely will not happen. This is very much the case for elderly people or anyone whose health is a little suspect.
Even if your body is in peak condition you will only convert less than 20% of the ALA to these important substances. So, the only way to ensure that you get the benefits of DHA and EPA is to take it directly in the form of fish oil!
Don't confuse cod liver oil with fish oil!
In case you think of cod liver oil when you think of fish oil it is important to distinguish between the two. Their make up is quite different. Cod liver oil as the name suggests comes from the liver whereas the ordinary fish oil comes from the body of the fish. Cod liver oil is very high in Vitamin A and if you take it you should be very careful to do so in limited quantities as it is very easy to overdose in Vitamin A with possible negative implications for your bones.
All fish oils regardless of whether they are derived from livers or the body of the fish have variable levels of industrial contaminants. Even the North Atlantic up around the Artic circle is notorious for producing fish which has high levels of heavy metals such as mercury as well as PCB's and dioxin. However, molecular distillation by a competent manufacturer should remove these. Nonetheless it is still desirable to start the process with the least contaminated fish possible.
Because of the importance of fish oil we decided over a year ago to produce one which we could claim to be the best in the world. After much development work we believe we have achieved this. We now produce a highly refined pure Omega 3/DHA by extracting the oil from a cold deep water New Zealand fish known as 'Hoki'. It is a Southern Ocean species harvested off the south western area of New Zealand.
The Southern Ocean at this latitude (unlike its northern counterpart) is not exposed to any form of industrial pollutants, but nonetheless the fish still goes through extensive molecular distillation processes to remove any form of contamination at all, whether that be natural or man made. I have to confess that I was paranoid about this issue because not only will we be supplying it to our customers, my family and I are all avid users of it. In fact, it was the difficulty of obtaining a really high quality fish oil for ourselves that prompted the development of this product.
We were also fortunate that the fish selected is also naturally high in DHA making it even more attractive.
We also haven't forgotten the importance of making an essential product such as this, as affordable as possible. We think that we have achieved this as well. You will see a link to 'value for money' on the above page so you can make some comparisons... but, in a nutshell you can have the benefits of this product if you are a loyalty member for 50 cents per day per person.
If you are already taking our Total Balance this product complements it nicely as they both work synergistically. By taking both of them the efficacy of all the nutrients is enhanced.
Until next issue,